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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Family Theatre was an early television anthology series produced under
Roman Catholic Church auspices. This episode was the first I've ever
seen of one of their productions and was broadcast today on the EWTN
network. Ruth Hussey starred in it, as she apparently did in a few
other episodes as the Virgin Mary.
But Mary's appearance in the story is only as a supporting character. The real star of this film is Jeffrey Lynn as Bartimus, the blind man cured in Jericho by Jesus who was on his way to Jerusalem at the time.
After the cure however Bartimius becomes rather full of himself. When Richard Hale, another blind man who wasn't lucky enough, to be around when Jesus was dispensing miracles tells Lynn he's getting arrogant, Lynn decides he might have something and Lynn resolves to go to Jerusalem and have some more words with Jesus.
We all know what happens to Jesus in Jerusalem, Lynn makes the acquaintance of Simon of Cyrene played by Raymond Burr, replete in full Othello makeup. They share their experiences of Jesus with each other and with Mary who comes to thank Simon for sharing the burden of the cross. And they vow to spread the word of the miracles they've witnessed and experienced.
This was early television, in black and white, and the production values are reflective of the time. Still it's a decent film of its type and played reverently by all those involved.
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